Physicists develop approach to increase performance of solar energy

April 20, 2020

Experimental condensed matter physicists in the Department of Physics at the University of Oklahoma have developed an approach to circumvent a major loss process that currently limits the efficiency of commercial solar cells.

Solar cells convert the sun's energy into electricity and are the main component of solar panels and many types of electrical devices as broad-ranging as satellites and calculators.

Members of the Photovoltaic Materials and Devices Group, led by OU associate professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ian Sellers, along with theorists at Arizona State University, led by David K. Ferry, have demonstrated a breakthrough toward the development of a hot carrier solar cell.

A hot carrier solar cell is a device that would increase the efficiency of solar cells by more than 20%, which Sellers said would be a significant breakthrough for solar energy.

"Although this device has been the source of a considerable amount of research over the last 10 to 15 years, the realization of a practical solution has thus far eluded researchers with proof-of-principle demonstrations only presented under unrealistic conditions or in materials and structures not relevant for solar cell operation," said Sellers.

Sellers says this new approach, recently published in the journal Nature Energy, demonstrates "significant progress in the realization of the hot carrier solar cell and the potential for ultra-high-efficiency single-junction semiconductor devices, which would revolutionize the field of photovoltaics and renewable energy generation."
-end-


University of Oklahoma

Related Solar Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

Solar cells of the future
Organic solar cells are cheaper to produce and more flexible than their counterparts made of crystalline silicon, but do not offer the same level of efficiency or stability.

A blast of gas for better solar cells
Treating silicon with carbon dioxide gas in plasma processing brings simplicity and control to a key step for making solar cells.

Record efficiency for printed solar cells
A new study reports the highest efficiency ever recorded for full roll-to-roll printed perovskite solar cells.

Next gen solar cells perform better when there's a camera around
A literal ''trick of the light'' can detect imperfections in next-gen solar cells, boosting their efficiency to match that of existing silicon-based versions, researchers have found.

On the trail of organic solar cells' efficiency
Scientists at TU Dresden and Hasselt University in Belgium investigated the physical causes that limit the efficiency of novel solar cells based on organic molecular materials.

Exciting tweaks for organic solar cells
A molecular tweak has improved organic solar cell performance, bringing us closer to cheaper, efficient, and more easily manufactured photovoltaics.

For cheaper solar cells, thinner really is better
Researchers at MIT and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have outlined a pathway to slashing costs further, this time by slimming down the silicon cells themselves.

Flexible thinking on silicon solar cells
Combining silicon with a highly elastic polymer backing produces solar cells that have record-breaking stretchability and high efficiency.

Perovskite solar cells get an upgrade
Rice University materials scientists find inorganic compounds quench defects in perovskite-based solar cells and expand their tolerance of light, humidity and heat.

Can solar technology kill cancer cells?
Michigan State University scientists have revealed a new way to detect and attack cancer cells using technology traditionally reserved for solar power.

Read More: Solar Cells News and Solar Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.